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Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Ala Notable Books for Adults) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 10, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The tragedy that occurred at Memorial Hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is unflinchingly detailed by the author. The horrors that the staff and patients had to face will haunt you. The actions that were taken to save lives was heroic. There were also decisions made, however, that led to at least 7 deaths. Were these unavoidable casualties of the disaster or were these people murdered to effect a long overdue rescue of the remaining patients and staff?
The questions surrounding the deaths led to an investigation of one doctor and a couple of nurses. This legal investigation is what comprises the second half of the book.
The author, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, gives a fair and complete assessment of the five day ordeal in the storm ravaged hospital. There is also background information for many of the staff and some patients who were stranded in the flood. There were points that actually had me near tears as I read of their struggles.
The investigation after the incident and the legal battles which ensued are equally as compelling. The political machine that took over so much of the Katrina recovery is a big part of the story. The reader is left to come to his own conclusion based on the information given. Through the stellar reporting of this author, it is easy to empathize with both sides in some respects. Was euthanasia necessary? I'm not going to go into my own personal beliefs but I will say that you will look at the whole situation differently after reading this book.
You will also be forced to take a look at the choices available to us as the end of life approaches.Read more ›
This is a book that SHOULD make one angry as well as profoundly and deeply distressed. It is also a fascinating investigation of the evolution of human perspective as "technical medicine" has become ever more complex and infrastructure-dependent. It includes an extraordinarily focused discussion of the historical issues - the fact that this hospital was flooded previously, but the necessary upgrades to provide better protection for the backup generators as recommended was never accomplished, being the most cogent.
For anyone who is not aware of the background story: As well as having a complement of "regular" patients, some in Intensive Care after such things as open heart and cancer surgery, the hospital had an organization called LifeCare that leased space on the 7th floor of the main hospital complex. Their patients were mostly elderly, and were in long-term care for extremely debilitating conditions that required extensive life support and monitoring, including dialysis, tube feeding, ongoing oxygen therapy, and so on. When the hurricane first approached, on Saturday, August 27, 2005, it seemed wise to move LifeCare patients in from a less secure, smaller facility in St. Bernard Parish, to the much larger location at Memorial.Read more ›
Fink drops the reader right into the hospital during the hurricane and in the horrific aftermath of the storm, when the levees failed and the hospital was completely surrounded by floodwaters. The reader feels the rising panic as generators fail, toilets stop working, medicines run low, cell phones die and communication is lost with the outside world.
Close to 200 people were evacuated from the hospital by helicopter and boats, but 45 patients died, most of them either terminally or gravely ill, the most of any hospital in the city. And most of them died of an overdose of morphine and Versed, allegedly by the hands of Dr. Anna Poe, a surgeon at the hospital. She and two nurses were arrested for killing those patients after a lengthy investigation.
Fink methodically lays out what went on at the hospital during those days. The corporate owner of the hospital, TenetCare, had an emergency plan that lacked some key elements. After 9/11, hospitals had to beef up emergency plans.
"The doctors at Memorial had drilled for disasters, but for scenarios like a Sarin gas attack, modeled that April, where multiple patients arrived at the hospital at once. Not in all his years of practice had Thiele drilled for the loss of backup power, running water, and transportation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I received [Five Days At Memorial] by [Sheri Fink] free in exchange for an honest review.
[Five Days at Memorial] is a comprehensive account of the tragedy that happened... Read more
Captivating and interesting perspective of the aftermath following hurricane Katrina.Published 2 days ago by Mattie D. Scott
I got bogged down in the first 100 pages with all if the detail provided but understood why it was necessary. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Susan Hafleigh
Anyone who works in health care should read this book. It's unbelievable what the dedicated staff at memorial did during and after Katrina. Read morePublished 18 days ago by swellville reader.
This book is haunting and unforgettable. Who can say how people will act under the horrific circumstances of Hurricane Katrina, when the medical staff at Memorial has to decide... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Kindle Queen
I loved this book. It presents fascinating legal, ethical and medical issues. To me, it was fair to all sides and tried to give each position a proper articulation.Published 22 days ago by GonzagoLives
I had to read this for nursing school. I found the book hard to follow. It kept jumping around different stories and I would forget who was who. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sarah